Bands/Musicians The Greatest Violists of All Time  

Ranker Music
5.3k votes 1k voters 20.9k views 61 items

List Rules Vote up the best viola players in history

If you’re a fan of classical music, you're familiar with the viola. A member of the string family, it is often confused with the violin, but is slightly larger and as a result, has a deeper sound. It is played with the bow and is unique in classical music as viola parts are usually written in the alto cleft, which is rarely used otherwise. The viola plays a pivotal role in orchestral music and requires a great deal of skill to master. These best violists of all time are truly the greatest violists in history.

Who are the greatest violists of all time? This list features the musicians who have spent years honing their skills and becoming proficient on the viola. Their dedication comes through each time they pick up their instrument. The violists on this list come from all time periods, past and present, and have dazzled audiences for decades.

This list of the greatest violists of all time has been ranked by the community's votes and features musicians like David Garrett, Itzhak Perlman, and L. Shankar. Vote up the best viola players below or add a violists you think is the best if he or she isn't already on the list.
list ordered by

1
197 98
Itzhak Perlman is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Klezmer, Classical music, Jazz

2
190 94
Niccolò Paganini is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Romantic music, Classical music

3
195 98
Jascha Heifetz is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Classical music

4
147 67
David Oistrakh is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Classical music

5
191 99
Fritz Kreisler is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Classical music

6
123 57
Nathan Milstein is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Classical music

7
422 271
Lindsey Stirling is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
NoahAlexanderNorton added Hip hop music, Dubstep, Electronic music

8
114 66
Yehudi Menuhin is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Classical music, Jazz

9
76 48
Anne-Sophie Mutter is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Classical music

10
130 98
David Garrett is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Classical music, Crossover

11
116 90
Pablo de Sarasate is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Classical music

12
55 32
Kyung-Wha Chung is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Classical

13
8 0
Balabhaskar is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
JishithGangadharan added Fusion, Carnatic music

14
91 69
Leonid Kogan is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Classical music

15
23 7
William Primrose is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
georgedeneff added

16
64 60
Hilary Hahn is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Classical music

17
45 40
Henryk Wieniawski is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Classical

18
63 61
Joshua Bell is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Classical music

19
44 39
Pinchas Zukerman is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Classical music

20
16 11
Yuri Bashmet is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
georgedeneff added Classical music

21
39 42
Sarah Chang is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Classical

22
8 3
Paul Hindemith is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
gnicholls added Opera, Ballet, Classical music

23
9 5
Lionel Tertis is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
gnicholls added Lionel Tertis

24
35 41
Janine Jansen is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Classical music

25
5 2
Kim Kashkashian is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Frank Cranmer added Classical music

26
26 31
Giuseppe Tartini is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Baroque music

27
5 3
Nobuko Imai is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Frank Cranmer added

Classical

28
21 28
Arthur Grumiaux is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Classical music

29
22 30
Ida Haendel is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Classical

30
14 20
David Aaron Carpenter is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
selebash added David Aaron Carpenter

31
18 26
Henryk Szeryng is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Classical; Baroque

32
11 16
Samvel Yervinyan is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
GabeVazquez added

33
18 27
Eugène Ysaÿe is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Classical music

34
20 30
Arcangelo Corelli is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Baroque music

35
16 26
Louis Spohr is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Opera, Classical music

36
8 14
Jean-Luc Ponty is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
slaft added Crossover jazz, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

37
9 16
Ranker Video
slaft added Rock music, Progressive rock

38
34 54
Isaac Stern is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Classical music

39
2 6
Milton Katims is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
gnicholls added Classical music

40
2 6
Rivka Golani is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
gnicholls added Rivka Golani

41
13 23
Joseph Szigeti is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Classical

42
12 24
Michael Rabin is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Classical

43
12 25
Henry Vieuxtemps is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Henry Vieuxtemps Classical

44
11 24
Ole Bull is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Classical music

45
9 21
Ayla Erduran is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Ayla Erduran Classical

46
23 44
André Rieu is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
AndreasJanke added Classical music

47
11 25
L. Subramaniam is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Fusion, Carnatic music, World music

48
15 33
Stéphane Grappelli is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Swing music, Gypsy jazz, Jazz fusion

49
14 32
Gidon Kremer is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
Classical music

50
12 29
Rachel Barton is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Violists of All Time
warren.shapiro1 added Classical music, Heavy metal, Baroque music